Waynesburg University student networks with TV networks
Waynesburg University Alan Jaskiewicz, of New Kensington, a freshman at Waynesburg University and a communications major, worked the Steelers playoff game.
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As die-hard Steelers ticket-holders were anticipating the wild-card playoff game Jan. 5 against Jacksonville, Alan Jaskiewicz arrived at Heinz Field, checking in with NBC to receive his parking pass.
Mr. Jaskiewicz, 19, of New Kensington, is one techno teen who is already making important job connections while working toward his college degree.
He is a freshman at Waynesburg University. Under the direction of Bill Molzon, assistant professor of communications and director of TV operations, Waynesburg students are getting valuable networking opportunities.
According to Mr. Molzon, "Communications students, through the department's student freelance operation, consistently work telecasts for CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports.
"The students have also worked for the Madison Square Garden Network and Versus, a cable sports channel owned by Comcast."
A communications major with an emphasis on electronic media, Mr. Jaskiewicz chose Waynesburg because, "It is hard to get a job, and this program gives you connections and experience."
Mr. Jaskiewicz participates in a program called the Afterwork Connection.
"Every time I can work on a project, I may as well jump on it and take advantage of the opportunity," he said.
By working on smaller utility jobs, he meets people who can open doors.
He also worked two other Steelers home games this season, against Baltimore on Nov. 5 and against Miami on Nov. 26, assisting ESPN each time.
"I stayed for the strike and helped pack up the production equipment," Mr. Jaskiewicz said.
"There were 25 purple boxes for the Skycam monitors and tripods. There were cameras and all kinds of stuff.
"It was really rainy for the game with Miami."
At the Jan. 5 playoff game, Mr. Jaskiewicz cabled for an NBC Cart Cam, an electric cart with a boom.
"It raises a camera guy up in the air at the sideline," he said. "I made sure the cart can get where it is going.
"I met production people from NBC -- producers, stage managers and camera guys. It was crowded, so we didn't see much, but I could see the atmosphere and I did see some of the players."
Mr. Molzon makes it a priority to help his students prepare for the job market.
"Alan and other students get to work network telecasts because of our remote production operation," he said. "We are very fortunate to have a very nice remote production truck. Having the truck teaches our students basic and advanced remote production skills."
The program engages students in different types of TV production work -- from four-camera remotes to multi-camera studio productions, as well as single-camera production and editing.
The remotes range from Waynesburg University football and basketball games to the town's Christmas parade and an annual reunion concert.
Mr. Molzon said: "Students have a passion for working productions -- that's demonstrated by the many hours they work a remote show. It's good preparation for the marketplace."
Single-camera productions range from community service-oriented documentaries to shooting, writing and editing stories for the student TV newscast that's shown on the town's cable system. It also includes shooting news and sports footage for KDKA-TV, WPXI-TV and WTAE-TV.
Mr. Molzon tries to open networking doors for his students.
"Writing magazine articles about sports telecasts has contributed to our program's growth as well," he said. "Doing research for the articles puts me in contact with the manufacturers and users of state-of-the art TV production equipment and facilities.
"I was lucky to get the assignment to write articles about ESPN's two biggest projects -- the inaugural season of ESPN "Monday Night Football" and last year's return of NASCAR to ESPN. Those articles got me full access to ESPN's truck production compounds for those two shows."
Mr. Jaskiewicz attended Valley Middle School when it received a grant for video equipment, and he began to participate in weekly announcements.
At Valley High School, he was a member of the Valley Viking Video Club. Unlike the middle school, where the equipment was analog, the high school had digital equipment and he was hooked. There were mini DV cameras, digital tape and multi-cam productions.
Every year, that club went to a media conference that Waynesburg University presents for high school students. It was there that Mr. Jaskiewicz saw the remote side of sports newscasting.
He saw the studio viewpoint, and the techno wizard was hooked.
When it came time to choose a college, he said Waynesburg was an easy selection.
First Published January 17, 2008 6:07 am